Politics was back on the agenda this weekend as all parties started the ‘home straight’ towards municipal elections next month.
In Portimão, PS Socialists held their annual congress with Prime Minister António Costa ‘rabble rousing’ throughout – exhorting his party to reclaim its mojo and aim for post-pandemic glory.
The final speech this evening was filled with promises: social support is to be reinforced; child support will be extended; there will be more ‘creche’ places for babies and toddlers; “we are going to eradicate child poverty in this country”, he thundered – as the focus has to be on encouraging Portuguese families to have more children if the country is to remain sustainable (click here).
Minority parties have been quick to criticise: saying the messages coming are ‘predictable’, ‘with an eye on the looming elections’, ‘not enough’ (Bloco de Esquerda), even ‘tragic’ (Iniciativa Liberal). But the scene is set for an increasingly political next few weeks in which PS Socialists will be doing their utmost to keep the country on their side as internally there is something of a power-struggle: Mr Costa is expected to give up his position as secretary-general in two years time, at which point various figures have been jostling for attention.
Today, ‘out of the blue’, Mr Costa threw the name of health minister Marta Temido into the ring, saying she could be his successor.
Certainly, in terms of popularity, Ms Temido has won hands down through the pandemic. This weekend another 100,000 people have been vaccinated as the country hurtles towards its target of having 85% fully vaccinated before the autumn.